Q&A: Social Security cost of living adjustments

Dear Liz: I am 67 and am delaying taking my Social Security until age 70 to take advantage of the 8% annual deferral. I was told by an individual at the Social Security office that I won’t get any inflation adjustments, such as the 8.7% increase for this year, and that people only receive the inflation adjustments if they’re actually receiving Social Security. Is that correct?

Answer: No. The Social Security Administration makes that clear in its two-page document, “Your Retirement Benefit: How It’s Figured.” Here’s what that document says verbatim:

“You’re eligible for cost-of-living benefit increases starting with the year you turn age 62. This is true even if you don’t get benefits until your full retirement age or even age 70. We add cost-of-living increases to your benefits beginning with the year you reach 62. Benefits are adjusted yearly to reflect the increase, if any, in the cost-of-living as measured by the Consumer Price Index.”

Your experience unfortunately isn’t unique. Other readers have reported getting misinformation or bad advice from Social Security reps. Social Security is a complicated system with many nuances, so it’s important to get a second opinion from a knowledgeable source, such as a fee-only financial planner, before making decisions regarding your benefits.

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